Ericsson and T-Mobile sign major $3.5b 5G agreement

This is the biggest 5G deal so far, for network gear maker Ericsson and is worth some $3.5 billion. Under the deal, Ericsson will provide T-Mobile with the latest 5G New Radio hardware and software, compliant with 3GPP standards.

"While the other guys just make promises, we're putting our money where our mouth is", blurted TMUS CTO Neville Ray in the approved corporate style. "With this new Ericsson agreement we're laying the groundwork for 5G - and with Sprint, we can supercharge the 5G revolution". For the test held in Waco, Texas, AT&T engineers used a smartphone with integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem and Ericsson 5G-NR capable radios to connect to AT&T's virtual 3X standards compliant system.

The demonstration takes place at the Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) event and is the first public 5G NR over-the-air (OTA) data call using 39 GHz mmWave band. This comes on top of another $3.5 billion deal T-Mobile signed with Nokia. Partly because these products can't yet speak for themselves (most providers won't launch 5G offerings until 2019), but also because carriers have had little to distinguish them in terms of technology for years. (NYSE: S) earlier this year, but the proposed tie-up has yet to secure the approval of USA competition authorities. It will also expand the carrier's existing LTE capacity needs, while future-proofing the network.

Heidi Adams, senior research director, IHS Markit, said: "Mobile transport infrastructure is critical for securing peak 5G radio performance and enabling the promise of new 5G services".

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"We have recently chose to increase our investments in the United States to be closer to our leading customers and better support them with their accelerated 5G deployments and we are excited about our partnership with T-Mobile", said Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson in North America.

The Ericsson agreement is the company's second recent multi-billion dollar 5G deal. The three companies are now in the last phase of testing 5G network equipment from suppliers Samsung, Nokia, and Huawei, and they are expected to announce their choices this month.

Both European vendors have undoubtedly benefited from the USA clampdown on Chinese rivals Huawei Technologies Co.

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